6.29.2012

It's Official: Caudalie Is No Longer Cruelty-Free

After a few months of ambiguity, I have confirmation that Caudalie Paris is no longer cruelty-free.

Here's the latest email response I received from a Caudalie brand representative:

"I apologize for the late response, I have been working with France over the past few weeks to make sure I have accurate information on this delicate issue.  

Please know that Caudalie continues to do no animal testing and requires all our suppliers do the same. It is true, we sell in China and unfortunately, today, no cosmetics brand selling in China can obtain certificates from the Chinese authorities to ensure that no test is performed on animals. Due to the absence of this certificate, the association Cruelty free has just remove the label. 

Know that refusal to be present in China means refusing to answer to the request of many Chinese women who love our brand and ask for it daily. We are also hopeful that things are changing rapidly in China.  The European authorities are trying to put pressure on Chinese authorities to ensure that their regulations evolve, and they adopt alternative methods, that have been practiced in Europe for many years. Also, be aware that we continue to defend our “cosm’ethic” and are always looking to go deeper into our commitments. Thus, in 2012, Mathilde and Bertrand Thomas, the founders have decided to give 1% of Caudalie’s sales to environmental organizations for the protection of the planet and animals. We hope that this answer will allow you to regain trust in our brand."

It does not seem that Caudalie directly conducts animal testing, but they are yielding to China's authority to conduct skin and eye irritation tests on animals on cosmetic products as they see fit.

It seems like more and more brands are disregarding their cruelty-free commitments in order to access Chinese markets -- Urban Decay, MAC, Mary Kay and Avon have all done so recently.

What do you think? Should makeup companies abstain from selling in China if it compromises their previously-stated ethics? Or do you agree with brands' decisions to capitulate to Chinese regulations in order to expand their markets?


CoverGirl Eye Enhancers 4-Kit Eye Shadows in Sugar Coated Review and Swatches

CoverGirl Eye Enhancers 4-Kit Eye Shadows in Sugar Coated
CoverGirl Eye Enhancers 4-Kit Eye Shadows in Sugar Coated

CoverGirl has added a new set of shades to their existing Eye Enhancers 4-Kit Shadows collection. One of the newest quads, CoverGirl Eye Enhancers 4-Kit Shadows in Sugar Coated, isn't even listed on CoverGirl's website yet, but it is available in stores.

CoverGirl Eye Enhancers 4-Kit Eye Shadows in Sugar Coated includes an interesting collection of shades: dark forest green, dusty purple, turquoise, and golden peach. I think each of these sheer, shimmery shadows look great individually or as part of other looks -- the forest green in particular is lovely! However, I found it difficult to use all four colors together in a flattering eye look.

CoverGirl Eye Enhancers 4-Kit Eye Shadows in Sugar Coated Swatches
CoverGirl Eye Enhancers 4-Kit Eye Shadows in Sugar Coated Swatches

The pigmentation is pretty good, and the sheer formula works well for the green, purple and peach shades. I wish that the turquoise had stronger pigmentation so that the bright color seen in the pan would show up more when applied. 

The golden peach is too dark to be used as a true highlighter, at least on my fair skin. I think the palette would create better-coordinated looks if CoverGirl had swapped out one of the four colors for a light highlight shade.

CoverGirl Eye Enhancers 4-Kit Eye Shadows in Sugar Coated
CoverGirl Eye Enhancers 4-Kit Eye Shadows in Sugar Coated

Here's my clumsy attempt to use all four shades from CoverGirl Eye Enhancers 4-Kit Eye Shadows in Sugar Coated. I applied the peach shade from lashline to browbone, then blended the dusty purple into the crease. I brushed the muted forest green onto my eyelid and lined my lower lashline with the turquoise shadow.

CoverGirl Eye Enhancers 4-Kit Eye Shadows in Sugar Coated
CoverGirl Eye Enhancers 4-Kit Eye Shadows in Sugar Coated

I was hoping for a muted mermaid look, but the result is a bit more "grunge mermaid!" I used Too Faced Shadow Insurance Eye Shadow Primer, but perhaps the colors would have shown up better if I used a white/cream base as well. 

What do you think of CoverGirl Eye Enhancers 4-Kit Eye Shadows in Sugar Coated? Do you have any ideas of how to combine the shadows for a fab eye look?


6.28.2012

What Does Your Lipstick Shape Say About You? NARS Lipstick in Niagara Review and Swatches

When I was a teenager, I remember taking a fun, silly magazine quiz called "What Does Your Lipstick Shape Say About You?" The premise was that how you wore down the tip of your lipstick said something about your personality. Lipstick astrology, basically.

For example, if your used lipstick retained most of its original, slanted shape, it meant that you were a careful, reserved person. If you wore down your lipstick to a flat tip, you must be the quick-thinking, adventurous type.

Me, I always wear down my lipsticks so that they are slanted, but concave on one side. I think the quiz said that meant I was talkative, energetic and creative, which isn't a very accurate assessment of my introverted personality.

NARS Lipstick in Niagara
NARS Lipstick in Niagara

It was a fun quiz, but I don't think my lipstick shape can actually reveal great truths about me. That is, with one big exception: this slanted, concave tip shows that I love NARS Lipstick in Niagara

NARS Lipstick in Niagara
NARS Lipstick in Niagara

I've featured this heavy hitter in a few other posts, so you might have already figured out that it was one of my favs. NARS Lipstick in Niagara ($24) is a pink-coral shade that veers strongly to the pink side. I love how I look in warm, pure coral shades, but this is the lipstick that I bust out if I want my lips to read more "pink." 

NARS Lipstick in Niagara Swatch
NARS Lipstick in Niagara Swatch

NARS Lipstick in Niagara has a creamy, satin finish that is comfortable and non-drying. It has strong pigmentation and good coverage. I usually apply two layers to get an opaque finish.

Like all of my most-worn lipsticks, NARS Lipstick in Niagara strikes that sophisticated balance between brightness and subtlety. This shade is a perfect choice if you want to stand out a little, but not too much, at work or school.

Have you tried NARS Lipstick in Niagara? What do you think? Let me know how you wear down the tip of your favorite lipstick!

6.27.2012

L'Oreal Infallible 24 Hr Eye Shadow in Amber Rush Review and Swatches

L'Oreal Infallible 24 Hr Eye Shadow in Amber Rush
L'Oreal Infallible 24 Hr Eye Shadow in Amber Rush

L'Oreal Infallible 24 Hr Eye Shadow in Amber Rush ($7.95) is an ultra intense, long-lasting eye shadow that will leave you with dramatic eyes that look gorgeous all day long. No joke: L'Oreal has stepped up the drugstore eye shadow game with this one. 

L'Oreal Infallible 24 Hr Eye Shadow has a unique powder-to-cream formula. It's technically a powder, but it feels extremely creamy to the touch. This allows for smooth application and a super dense, foiled appearance that I love. 

Once applied, this shadow isn't going anywhere. It looks just as fresh at the end of the day as when it is first applied! L'Oreal claims this eye shadow is waterproof and, while I haven't worn it in a pool or shower, I've found that it doesn't budge when I rub my eyes or splash my face with water. Even if you're not wearing eye shadow primer, L'Oreal Infallible 24 Hr Eye Shadow won't come off until you hit it with cleanser or makeup remover. 

L'Oreal Infallible 24 Hr Eye Shadow in Amber Rush
L'Oreal Infallible 24 Hr Eye Shadow in Amber Rush

L'Oreal Infallible 24 Hr Eye Shadow in Amber Rush has unusual packaging. In the photo at the top of this post, the eye shadow is technically upside down. You have to flip it over and unscrew the cap to open it, which then reveals a removable cover. It appears that the cover is there to contain any fallout or messiness.

Then you take the cover off...

L'Oreal Infallible 24 Hr Eye Shadow in Amber Rush
L'Oreal Infallible 24 Hr Eye Shadow in Amber Rush

Voila!  L'Oreal Infallible 24 Hr Eye Shadow in Amber Rush is a complex reddish copper with densely-packed shimmer. I was worried the red hues would be too strong, but Amber Rush has a strong silver flash that keeps this shade from venturing into rabbit eye territory. 

L'Oreal Infallible 24 Hr Eye Shadow in Amber Rush
L'Oreal Infallible 24 Hr Eye Shadow in Amber Rush

Here's a swatch of L'Oreal Infallible 24 Hr Eye Shadow in Amber Rush:

L'Oreal Infallible 24 Hr Eye Shadow in Amber Rush Swatch
L'Oreal Infallible 24 Hr Eye Shadow in Amber Rush Swatch

The sole drawback I've identified is that I experience some fallout when I pack this shadow on heavily. Other than that though, I am very happy with the formula, pigmentation, and wear time of L'Oreal Infallible 24 Hr Eye Shadow in Amber Rush. I love the creamy texture and foiled finish! It's available in 18 shades too, so I will definitely be checking out some more. Eternal Sunshine, anyone?

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6.25.2012

Essie Nail Lacquer in Tour de Finance Review and Swatches

Essie Nail Lacquer in Tour de Finance Swatch
Essie Nail Lacquer in Tour de Finance

I'm a little late to the game on this one, but take a look at Tour de Finance ($8) from Essie's Spring 2012 "Navigate-Her" Nail Lacquer Collection!

Essie Nail Lacquer in Tour de Finance is a bright fuchsia pink with finely-milled shimmer. The shimmer flecks appear to be a bluish purple color, which gives the polish an iridescent fuchsia glow that looks really festive and pretty. We've been seeing plenty of fuchsias lately, so this polish is definitely on-trend.

Essie Nail Lacquer in Tour de Finance Swatch
Essie Nail Lacquer in Tour de Finance

In addition to the lovely color, I am very happy with the quality of Essie Nail Lacquer in Tour de Finance. The nail polish brush fans out well and coats your nail effectively. Plus, Essie Nail Lacquer in Tour de Finance has great coverage. I applied two coats, but you could very easily get away with only doing one.

I've only tried one other Essie Nail Lacquer (Merino Cool, which I wrote about in May), but I've adored them both for their beautiful shades and stellar quality. Browsing Essie's website has me hungry for more! 

Do you love Essie? Or does your heart belong to another polish brand? Tell me your manicure secrets!


6.24.2012

Too Faced Shadow Insurance Anti-Crease Eye Shadow Primer Review

It's funny: as little as 9 months ago, I had no idea what eyeshadow primer was. Now, after discovering Too Faced Shadow Insurance Anti-Crease Eye Shadow Primer ($18), I can't imagine wearing shadow without this miracle cream's color-intensifying, anti-creasing, and long-wearing properties.

Too Faced Shadow Insurance Anti-Crease Eye Shadow Primer
Too Faced Shadow Insurance Anti-Crease Eye Shadow Primer

The creamy, beige-colored formula of Too Faced Shadow Insurance Anti-Crease Eye Shadow Primer evens out skin tone to create the perfect canvas for shadow. By creating a neutral, flawless base, Shadow Insurance intensifies pigments and helps the true color of your eyeshadow shine.

Although Too Faced Shadow Insurance Anti-Crease Eye Shadow Primer is creamy when applied, it sets to a matte finish. This is essential for all-day wear time. The powder finish of Too Faced Shadow Insurance absorbs your skin's oils to prevent creasing and hold your makeup in place. I have oily eyelids, and my morning eyeshadow used to be gone by the early afternoon. Now I have to use makeup remover to get it off, no matter how late I'm up!

Too Faced Shadow Insurance Anti-Crease Eye Shadow Primer Eye Shadow Duo Totally Toasted Swatches
Too Faced Shadow Insurance Anti-Crease Eye Shadow Primer
Left: Without Primer,  Right: With Primer

I swatched Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in Totally Toasted in the above photo. The left side is without primer, and the right side is with a layer of Too Faced Shadow Insurance. The difference is staggering, especially in person.

I've tried a few other eyeshadow primers, and Too Faced Shadow Insurance Anti-Crease Eye Shadow Primer is my clear favorite. Certain others are overly sticky and make blending difficult, while Too Faced Shadow Insurance creates a smooth surface for blending that still locks down pigment until you decide to remove it. 

Plus, I think it's a great value. You only need a pea-size amount or less to cover your entire lid from lashline to browbone, so a single tube lasts forever. I used a 0.11 oz deluxe sample that I got in a Too Faced order for four months! 

If you haven't tried Too Faced Shadow Insurance Anti-Crease Eye Shadow Primer yet, I recommend that you do so. You'll be amazed that you ever managed to live without it.